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Songs of Ninja and Katana

Fast and fun skirmish gaming set in the land of the samurai and ninja ... relive history, or recreate the myths!

Songs of ninja and Katanas:

Light version- Dec 2008 edit
This booklet is a light version of an add on for the Ganesha Games system called. Songs of Blades and Heroes. To play in the land of samurai and ninja you will need the original rules at a very minimum. You will also find it very useful to have all the supplements to the main rules at hand. The full version will include a campaign system and a full cast of characters. I grew up being fascinated by Japanese Bujutsu (martial techniques). Long before the Kung Fu craze I was hunting down books on self defence written by people who had lived in Japan around the turn of the 1900s. These books show jujutsu, judo and cane (instead of traditional stick) techniques. Next came a book by Honor Blackman of the Avengers fame showing jujutsu self defence techniques. By the age of 7 in 1969 Id already given my father a dead leg he was never going to completely recover from, was doing judo with a guy who learnt it after being stationed in Japan after the war and was to soon to become friendly with a Chinese boy whose father basically wanted a big kick bag for his 3 sons to learn his Gung Fu on; this lasted quite a few years until the family moved back to Hong Kong. The seeds were set for a 38 year (so far) journey that has seen me spending time in different parts of the world, doing every conceivable martial art I could lay my hands on, and for the last 25 years a Japanese form of traditional bujutsu which encompasses nine martial traditions which is called the BUJINKAN. A potentially unhealthy obsession with Role Playing in my teenage years saw me either screwing every game to an Oriental slant or playing Bushido. Along side this became a sub obsession with the Japanese equivalent of Spaghetti Westerns the Chanbarra (you can pick from about 3 western spellings) movie. Big characters, loads of extras dying in spectacular ways (remember way before digital special effects the Japanese movie industry were using slightly unethical ways to portray gore. The least offensive method being using animal intestines wrapped in gut put around the actors bodies and being sliced through by semi live blades!), a real emphasis (although like spag westerns these got somewhat blurred) on right versus wrong as well as spectacularly brutal and quick sword work. There was little of the theatrical leaps and unrealistic fight scenes of Chinese entertainment (dont get me wrong I love these movies as well), the fights were quick, if they lasted any length it is because the hero is fighting lots of people, or the two characters are waiting for an opening to strike. When I came across the Songs of X stable of rules they immediately got used for my samurai collection. It wasnt long until they were tweaked for playing historical games based on the chanbarra movies and a then into a more fantasy setting. The joy of Songs of ... is the quick action and activation system which is ideal for the fast cut and thrust

world of Japanese kenjutsu (sword play). The project to present the variant to you, the reader, came when a long term playing buddy suggested other people might enjoy the Eastern slant ... so here we are. Rich Jones 2009 WEAPONS AND WEAPON SKILLS: The following are some of the skills and characteristics which will feature in the full version of the add on.

Long reach weapons: These include such weapons as the rokushaku bo (6 foot staff), naginata (halberd type weapon) and yari (thrusting spear). They get an optional +1 in combat as skilled practitioners can utilise the maai (combat distance) of the weapon. However if they use this +1 the opponent is only knocked down on a 6, thus modelling the effect of these weapons keeping the opponent out of danger distance. Note, this also means that the figures are then not in HtH. This ability can only be utilised by figures with a Combat 4 or better. Ukemi - +2 to Quality to any climbing rolls and rolls to avoid damage. In addition the skill allows the user to roll out of the way of a strike. User receives +2 on combat roll BUT can not harm the attacker if in HTH. Instead any win will see them move a short distance away in chosen direction. This models a number of defensive moves ranging from tobi (leaping away), nagare (rolling away) and the more fantastical acrobatic moves like cartwheels and somersaults. If shot and the user loses the combat roll by 1 they may use the skill to roll away from the hit like explained above. They may not wish to do this however, in which case the original result stands. Kuji Kiri this was a form of handweaving movements and air cutting often shown in ninja movies. Its effects revolved around people viewing it as magic. The character can confound an opponent up to a short range distance. Treat as the ability to cast transfix spells. Samurai Armour ignore combat losses by only one point. Magic Resistance can reroll magic resistance roll. Teleport 1 success = medium, 2= long and 3= anywhere. Shuriken short range ranged weapon. One action to throw, its effects model a number of darts thrown in quick

succession - needs short shooter ability. No need to reload but any roll of a 1 will mean the figure has no more left. Shinobi/Ninja trained sneak killer. In fantasy games they may use Kuji-Kiri and cause terror. In non-fantasy games they will cause terror in anyone Quality 5+. Other skills may be added but shinobi get stealth, clinging and ukemi as standard skills. Shugenja Mystical priest, in fantasy games classed as a magic user. BIG/HUGE +1 on combat if fighting smaller opponent. Clinging can climb walls and ceilings, including horizontal surfaces. Fearless immune to gruesome deaths and terror all samurai personalties and all heroes are fearless. Yamabushi suffers no penalty movement for terrain. Free Disengage opponents dont get a free hit. Hero can reroll any roll at any point in game either theirs or opponents, so long as the roll had a bearing on the Hero personally. Always passes one quality die.In a fantasy setting Heroes always have a Toughness of 1. Leader any one within long distance can get +1 on quality rolls. Can order group actions. Poison weapons every time it hits on a 6 the target quality goes up by one KIA at 7 Toughness - figures can have a toughness rating of 0 and above. Normal figures have a rating of 0 and this has no effect on game play at all. For every point of toughness a figure has they reduce the effect of a damaging hit by one level for each point of Toughness used up. For example with a Toughness of 2 the figure can disregard an out of action/game result by using one toughness point, they could however bring an instant kill down to a out of action result with one point or disregard it for 2 points. The down side is that the figure must increase its Quality one per toughness point used. Once its toughness points are used up the damage is treated normally. Once a figure reaches a Quality of 7 no matter how much toughness it has left they are out of the game. Tetsujin (iron man/nerves) +1 on morale. Iai jutsu can move and strike as one action. Weapon Master can use more than one action as an attack per turn. Shinken gata can sense danger can not be surprised or ambushed. All samurai personalities and Heroes have this as standard. Ni to jutsu is skilled with fighting with two weapons which offsets the fighting multiple opponents penalty. No superior weapon modifier allowed.

Hatred - +1 in combat against certain clans or creatures. Yadome-jutsu arrow cutting skill if the character is the target of a ranged attack, has their weapon at ready and is not in HTH (or suprised) they roll a d6, on a 5+ the missile has been cut from the air. Taijutsu/jujutsu unarmed combat skill if the practitioner wins a combat they can take the opponent down on anything but a 1. If both have the skill they negate each other. Specialist skill that can be earned in a campaign: Muto Dori unarmed against weapon doesnt count as inferior to any weapon. On a winning roll of a 5 or 6 the opponent is disarmed. Kusuri-jutsu chained combat skill weapons with a short range chain capability can disarm the opponent if they win the combat with a 6 OR if a kill result is used to disarm instead. Weapons will have a max range of short 2x short depending on the actual weapon. Weapon Characteristics: Chain/rope and weight weapons. Often hidden but they have a short range, treat as ranged weapon. However if the weapon wielder has the kusuri-jutsu ability it can be used to disarm. Tetsubishi (caltrops) can be spread as a throw action, roll 2 Quality dice on 2 passes a short diameter space of difficult ground is made. On 1 pass the opponent may move the areas centre one short away. Metsubishi (blinding powder) can be thrown a short distance out of a saya (sword scabbard) or from the hand (often kept in hollowed out eggs). Acts like a transfix spell but only against 2 dice and only lasts one activation. Can only be used by shinobi class.


Works as per normal until the full add one is available but with the following optional rules: Samurai Personalities and Heroes are steadfast however if they fail 2 or 3 morale rolls and do not flee the table they move up a Quality class. If the flee moves would make them flee the table this has a very negative effect on the Groups ON total. SO the figure may choose to commit seppuka (ritual suicide) instead. The player stays still and declares their intention. Any personality within medium range who is not in combat may move in to act as a second (they move back afterwards). Make 3 Quality rolls: Pass 0 Complete botched attempt group loses ON. Pass 1 If the figure has a second they will not lose the group ON. If there is no second then the ON will be lost.

Pass 2 Group does not lose any ON. Pass 3 The Group will actually increase their ON by 5.

Bushido and ON

If challenge is lost -2 ON and the character can not attack the other character unless they pass a quality check on (+1 on their quality) for the rest of the game. Only one set of challenges is allowed to be made to any particular opponent during the game. PHYSICAL CHALLENGES Personalities may make physical challenges to other personality figures after a verbal challenge has been won. The figure stays at short distance with the other character and spends an action to declare their intention to do some damage. The character then moves into combat (no need to spend another action point). At this point the opponent may walk away - to be insulted and ridiculed by the challenger (they will lose -3 ON). If the challenge is accepted the winner of the verbal challenge will receive +1 in combat for the first round. On a kill/out of action result and NOT a gory death the victor may choose to leave the loser alive, this humiliation will normally be accompanied by spitting or peeing on the opponent. This causes -5 ON and +2 on the Quality of the person for the rest of the game. If it is a challenge there are ON implications for other characters interfering. Only one challenge is allowed to be made to any particular opponent. Weapon modifiers: As per the rules plus: Better weapon in the hands of a Combat 4+ figure downs opponent in combat if they win and get +1 in combat with lesser weapon. Worse to Better: Katana, Dai Katana Long weapons in C4+ hands better than any except dai katana in first round of combat. Long weapons Any other. MYTHICAL CREATURES Mukade (giant centipede) Q3+ C3 Animal, Big, Poison, Long Move Raiju (thunder beasts) like huge badgers Q4+ C3 forester Leader Q3 C3 Shishi (foo lion) noble defenders of temples Q3+ C4 Fearless, Savage Tako (giant octopus) Ushi-Oni (ox ogre) Q4+ C4 Big, Savage, Tough Bakemono sho goblin

Any Samurai or personality figure will collect ON and try and follow the code of Bushido. Every time a character does a deed which may earn or lose them ON the ongoing total is changed. ON is needed to reach higher level abilities and to be eligible for quests. Some character types may have a negative ON requirement. + ON (good Karma deeds) Winning a verbal challenge +2 Winning a physical challenge +5 Moving in to fight an enemy with higher combat rating +1 Not striking a helpless opponent +1 Beating a terrifying opponent +1 - ON (bad karma deeds) Not accepting a verbal challenge -2 Not accepting a physical challenge -3 Losing a verbal challenge -1 ON Losing a physical challenge and being left alive -5 PLUS +2 to Quality for rest of game. Killing a hopeless opponent (not in a challenge) -1 Using sneaky tactics -1 Using poison -1 Using firarms in a fight -3 Joining in an unfair fight -1 Injuring an innocent bystander -2 Walking away from a fight with an opponent of at least the same Combat value -3 Miscellaneous -1 to -3 In a campaign ON will be used to gain group enhancements and gain the chance to go on Quests for the Shogun. Ninja and ON - Ninja gain ON as their reputation increases - however this is twice their Victory Points for the scenario and not linked to deeds. VERBAL CHALLENGES Personalities may make verbal challenges to other personality figures. This takes one action - the figure spends an action to move a normal move. stopping a short distance away from the other character they then announce themselves. The verbal challenge then takes place if the defender accepts. If they do not there will be a loss of ON of course (-2). Treat as combat with an extra modifier of the difference (if any) of any quality. The higher quality figure will get a + modifier. If the challenge is a draw there is no effect - the insults were well matched. The challenger may then use any actions they have left in the usual ways. If a challenge is won the character receives +2 ON.

Q4+ C2 Hero Q4+ C3 Archer Q4+ C2 shooter (medium) Dai Bakemono orc Q4+ C3 Hero can be savage Q3+ C4 Leader, Tough Gotoku Neko were cat Q3+ C$ Tough, Savage, Were Buruburu (gas witch) Undead, Poison, Terror Kappa water devils Q4+ C3 Amphibious Magic User Mu-shin void less evil human like Q3+ C2 Transfix (long), Assassin, Poison weapons Oni (ogre/demon) 5+ C4 Tough, Fearless, Big Tengu crow demons Q3+ C3 Flying, sneak, ambush Gaki zombie Q5+ C4 Undead, Short move, Slow Yurei ghost Q4+ C1 Undead, Free Disengage, Flying Tatsu - dragon Q3+ C4 Animal, Flying, Huge, Long move, Tough 3, Terror TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT SONGS OF BLADES AND HEROES: To join the Yahoo Group: